The Nitty Gritty

But more than all of those I am an entertainer. I carry around a ukulele with me for the same reason a gangster carries a gun; better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Stage or sidewalk, Your Pal Pete shows are just where they happen.
Currently, I'm working on a musical, RagnaPOP(or she's got the bomb), set to premiere at this year's Capital Fringe Festival. I'm also working on music, comedy, and musical comedy; for kids and/or adults.
The fruit of these projects will be available on this site, so check back regularly!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Last Iraq War Anniversary Blog! (Hopefully)

I go through my day thinking of things to post here some time big, fat, glowing topics just drift right on by; the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War. After reading the book Fiasco, about the planning of the Iraq war, my roommate-who works in politics- said that his organization put more planning into political campaigns than the Bush Administration did for this war. He wasn't exaggerating.

I've been wrong about so very much in my life, but my mind has never been swayed that the Iraq War was a bad idea. But I'm just a person, what I know about Iraq is what I've taken the time to learn. So when President Bush first said that Saddam Husein was going to have to atone for his role in 9/11, I thought, who said Iraq had anything to do with it? Did he just make that up?

Of course, as through most of the Presidency, we were suppose to take their word for it with a administration-wide game of "Do as I say, not as I do." A lot of us on the more liberal side of things had our patriotism challenged when we balked about war with Iraq, but a lot of us wanted exactly what President Bush said HE wanted: to punish those responsible for 9/11. We were also cursed with memories good enough to remember all of the promises that have been broken in the meantime.

Saddam had WMDs, you know who else does? Us. We sold them to Iraq as a matter of fact. WMDs are great if you want to sit the big boy's table of international diplomacy (which is the reason Saddam loved the idea that people thought he had them), but they are a bad strategic move to actually use. Even if a rogue group got a nuke or nerve gas that they used in any part of the world that they MAY have gotten from Iraq, Baghdad would most likely be blinked out of existence by our own WMDs.

Saddam was an evil guy, without a doubt, but this world is full of evil guys in power. Imposing our foreign policy on this part of the world reminds me of a rich friend I had in High School; whenever I'd have some financial limitation that he didn't, he say,"Can't you ask your parents for the money?" No, I couldn't, and not just because of pride. It wasn't as simple as he saw it.

The simplistic approach of the Bush Administration's "They hate us for our freedom, so we'll force it down their throats" does not take into account the deep ethnic divisions and the economic inequities between them. A basic rule of human behavior is they have to take care of themselves before they can devote time to worry about their freedom. Many Iraqis are happy that Saddam's gone but are now refugees or have dead and disfigured relatives and the lucky ones who might have dodged such peril regularly go without power and water. I wonder how much we as Americans would value our freedom if we didn't have a clean place to take a shit for 5 years.

Another thing that I knew that the War would affect adversely was good old-fashioned political discourse. I had a political discussion with someone on the Washington Metro who was in support of the war because of Saddam's WMDs. We disagreed, but were respectful of each other's opinions and shook hands when he got to his stop. I told him, "The saddest thing about this, is this might be the last civil political discussion either one of us will hear for a long time." I was more right than I could have imagined.

But who could could have foreseen a screw-up this huge? It's not like this couldn't have gone better, like we didn't have people who had the experience to help us avoid this, but were fired for their honesty. The egos of the President and Vice-President won't allow them to admit openly that they've done anything wrong, regardless of all the bleeding, exploding evidence to the contrary; a conceit that even their most ardent supporters can no longer share.

I wish I could have seen where we'd be in Iraq now. I would have loved to ask the people who supported it at the beginning if they still would if they knew for a fact that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and had no WMD program whatsoever. After refusing to believe either or both (Hell, I believed they had WMDs) I believe they'd say that they wouldn't. Well they didn't and don't after six years where the government worked pretty hard to find even the barest tread of real evidence. But our reasons for fighting morphed enough to satisfy most people to believe we're still doing the right thing.

9/11, WMDs, to establish democracy, to fight terrorists? I'm not one of these people who believes that war is never an answer, just not when we're not sure what the question is.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Unfortunately, I suspect that none of the candidates, Hilary and Obama included, will get us out of the war by next year... so this may not be your last Iraq war anniversary blog.